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Giving Back: Former Student-Athletes Donate Millions
Courtesy: Kyle Corwin,
Release: 10/02/2018
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Duke’s student-athlete alumni base has proven itself to be a key factor in the university’s successes not only in the athletics realm, but in a variety of departments on campus as a result of its prolific giving.

In FY17, Duke received $31.7 million from its former student-athletes; $20.9 million of which went to the university and the remaining $10.8 million to athletics.

Over the last decade, annual giving from former student-athletes has increased 420 percent, highlighted by the largest year-over-year growth during that span—a 71.4 percent jump from FY16 to FY17.

From FY08 to FY17, Duke received a total of $166 million from its former student-athletes with over $101 million going towards supporting education, research and programs dedicated to tackling society’s toughest challenges and improving lives worldwide.

The donations made to both athletics and the university emphasize the commitment to pursuing excellence in competition and the classroom, a challenge put forth by Duke’s Vice President and Director of Athletics, Kevin White.

“While on campus, Duke student-athletes ‘double major’ in academics and athletics,” said White. “As much as they enjoy competing for ACC and NCAA Championships, the young men and women representing their respective programs value their time in the classroom as Duke students. To be sure, they have learned, among many critically important life skills, the importance of community and giving back.”

The top three areas that these individuals give back to—Athletics, the Trinity College of Arts & Sciences and the Nicholas School of the Environment—provide a brief glimpse into the diverse makeup of the 5,454 former student-athletes that donated to either Duke University or Duke Athletics.

“Clearly, Duke student-athletes valued highly the academic and other non-athletic experiences as much as they did the athletic experiences,” said Roy Bostock, a 1962 graduate and Trustee Emeritus of Duke University. “Net, they valued the breadth and quality of their entire Duke experiences—and recognize the future strength of the University is dependent on maintaining this breadth and quality of excellence.”

The link between a Duke student-athlete and the university is evident, proven by the continuous giving by many who desire to exhibit their appreciation for the athletic and academic departments long after they have graduated.

“The evidence of giving back to Duke from former student-athletes is both gratifying and impressive, and a wonderful example of paying it forward,” noted 1972 graduate and trustee on the Duke University Board of Trustees Alan Schwartz. “This speaks well of the student-athletes and their connection to Duke University.”

Spirited in its longing to bridge life after graduation back to the time once spent in Durham, the inspiration of the student-athlete alumni base to give back to the university stems from the experiences previously garnered as Blue Devils both academically and athletically.

Without the support of its athletic alumni, Duke would fall significantly short of its goal of being the leading innovator in the collegiate landscape as it pertains to the development of students.

With continued support, however, this mission remains possible and enables Duke to make overarching enhancements that will ultimately benefit lives—both in the community and around the world—for years to come.

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